Though Sveta graduated from Zaporozhye State University in Ukraine with a degree in languages and literature, she’s been training as an artist all her life. On the one hand, she was an experienced art director and creative director in one of Kiev’s largest advertising agencies, on the other she studied anatomy and academic drawing at the Tel Aviv Classical School of Art. To ‘teach’ herself illustration, she threw herself in at the deep end and wrote and illustrated a children’s book, which is full of her own images, lettering and ideas.
In 2015, her book was published in Russia and Romania. It’s been an instant hit with readers, was nominated for the National Bestseller Award 2016 in Russia, and a US printing is planned.
An image begins when Sveta writes down her ideas in words – no drawings. When she’s settled on the clearest concept, the sketching begins and she starts thinking about the tonal scheme. Once she’s happy with a rough, she makes a clean pencil drawing on watercolour paper, and inks it before painting in the colour. If she wants a softer feel, she’ll leave out the linked line work and use straight watercolours. Sometimes, when working in black and white, she’ll use a ballpoint pen for a soft, engraved-like effect.
Sveta’s main style has been likened to Golden Age fairy tales – classic and vintage. When she brings modern themes and ideas into the work juxtaposition is created that makes it fresh, relevant and unique.
Her second style involves light line art, drawn quickly and with more expression and less detail. A silhouette, a dance, a fantasy scene. Usually these images are done using ink, a spot colour, or in pencil.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Sveta: A passion for drawing.Question: Do you have any formal design training? Sveta: No, I have a university degree in languages and literature.Question: Where are you originally from? Sveta: USSR. (Later - Ukraine).Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Sveta: Israel.Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it? Sveta: At home. It's mostly a table, a comp, and lots of stuff in the drawers. Question: Describe the view from your studio window? Sveta: Like in most Israeli apartments, it's a view of other people's apartments! Everything is very close and populated here. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Sveta: Observations from life and history of Arts.Question: Do you collect anything? Sveta: Yes, antique postcards with weird subject matter. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Sveta: No, just sketchbooks and notebooks.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Sveta: I am actually going through an interesting experience right now - I am completing an artist residency in Shanghai and plan to make a personal project as a result, which I haven't done for a couple of years now. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Sveta: I would love to work on a Tim Burton movie.Question: Who is your art hero? Sveta: Albrecht Durer.Question: Who is your illustration hero? Sveta: Kirill Chelushkin.Question: What's the best advice you've ever been given? Sveta: "It’s not written on your work that it was done purely for the money. The money will go, but the work will stay. With your name on it. It will not catapult to Mars or self-destroy if it's junk. Make sure it's good work, or don't make it, even for a lot of money. At the end of the day, only the result matters."Question: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into illustration? Sveta: Don't start with a book. Gaming, movies, animation – that's where illustration lives now. If you can get there from the start, do it. Books have turned from traditional illustrators' work into a detour from it, no matter how pleasurable.Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Sveta: Ancient Greece (for the arts), early Renaissance Italy (for the spirit), 19th century France and England (cursed poets and pre-Raphaelites). Doesn't matter actually, I think I would enjoy the middle ages too. I would even stay there for a lifetime, provided that I am allowed to illuminate manuscripts in some monastery.